Why Just Go Along for the Ride
When You Can Be in the
BY TONY MACRI
“Riding” keeps us over our boards and
can be an efficient way to take on various
terrain with minimal output of energy.
This can work quite well at the beginner
levels and is beneficial when learning in
a terrain-based environment, where you
can safely let your board move freely over
terrain features like rollers and spines.
Riding in this manner can help students
learn to interact with different terrain by
going with the flow; they might make
their first slideslip or turn “by accident.”
This is a fun and innovative way for
beginners to learn the sport. However,
“Driving” a board entails more actively
and aggressively moving the body, in turn
allowing us to manipulate the board to
match the terrain. Driving allows riders
to use the board’s performance to create
more energy in an effort to go faster
To get a better sense of the differences
between riding and driving, let’s take a look
at the four board performance concepts of
tilt, pivot, pressure, and twist – and, in
The act of snowboarding has long been referred to as “riding,” but that doesn’t really do justice to the dynamics of the sport. If your students merely ride their board, they’ll have a tendency to be passive in
their movements, reacting to the environment around them
rather than taking charge of where they go and how they
get there Why not help them learn to drive their boards?
particular, the common movements and
results you may see in students and fellow
snowboaders on the hill.
Ride: We often see students lean back over
their heels or forward over their toes in an
effort to create tilt and to avoid catching an
edge. The speed of travel determines the
amount of lean your students can apply
(photo 1). In this instance, your students
are mainly relying on centripetal and
centrifugal forces to hold them up.
Drive: In order to drive their boards,
encourage your students to bend more
through the ankles, knees, hips, and spine
to create a more angulated position that
will create tilt (photo 2). This allows them
to make more subtle adjustments in the tilt
of the board, changing the size and shape of
their turns to have more control.
AASI Snowboard Team member Tony Macri shows the differences between riding (photos 1 and 3)
and driving (photos 2 and 4) his board during tilt and pivot movements.
PHOTO 1 PHOTO 2 PHOTO 3 PHOTO 4